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It’s important that your
car is thoroughly washed before
storing it for the winter.
Be sure to wash the underbody, particularly from
the wheel wells
to remove any traces of road salt, mud and road debris.
Dirt holds moisture, and the combination of moisture and air
causes iron and steel to rust.
Be careful if you use a high power pressure
sprayer on the
underbody and frame.
Water pressure from the sprayer wand can force soap and
through lubrication seals.
These seals are designed to hold lubricant and are not
withstand high pressure spray.
absolutely vital that your car is completely dry before it
into storage, as any moisture could cause rust when it’s left
stand over the winter.
And be sure to protect and polish the chrome as
And protect the rubber areas of the car so they
in the cold weather.
Once the car has air-dried, give it a good wax
to protect your
Make sure to store your classic
car in a locked garage.
And make sure the space is clean, dry and damp-free before
storing your car, as any moisture could cause corrosion or
Lay tarp on the floor of your garage under your
Concrete will wick moisture up and evaporate it under
causing rust to form.
Put down 2 layers of the big blue tarps that you can buy at
Menard's or any home improvement store.
Or place a sheet of vapor barrier plastic under the car on
This also will prevent water vapor buildup in an unheated
and also makes it very easy to spot fluid leaks when the car
is removed from storage.
Classic cars should be stored in a garage away
from direct sunlight.
If possible, keep the car under a car cover.
You can cover it with a breathable water-resistant
or just a sheet.
A waterproof tarp or plastic cover would trap moisture and
a perfect environment for rust.
This will provide the car protection from dust
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the windshield under the
blades, to prevent the rubber from sticking to the glass.
If your car will be exposed to freezing
temperatures, make sure
that no personal items that may freeze or burst
are left in
Lubricate all the spots that require
grease, like suspension
components wheel bearings, and hinges.
Lubricate the hood release latch, hood and door hinges
them from moisture.
Keep oil and solvents off all
Spray grease on all linkages, cable levers and clevis pins
the underbody of the car.
Apply silicone spray to door and window
seals to keep them
To prevent rust, spray the whole underbody with WD-40,
it will repel moisture.
Remove the spark plugs and spray a small
amount of oil into
the cylinders to prevent rusting, then insert the plugs
"Fogging oil" for storing boats, and will also work.
Use of a spark plug anti-seize lubricant on the threads is
advisable, as to prevent the threads from sticking.
It will make disassembly easier, when it's time to change
the spark plugs.
Body Exterior and Chassis:
Look for scratches, rust spots, chrome
plating, brass and or
Look at the paint in general, on the body, fenders and
Winter is a good time to make repairs.
Clean and polish the body and chrome.
Remove the dead bugs and other residue like mud and tar
Grease all the fittings just to be sure they will accept
Over inflate your tires them
by about 2-5 PSI to compensate for
Don’t exceed the tire’s maximum air pressure, which is
on the side of the tire.
The tires should always be cleaned to remove
dirt and brake dust
before winter car storage.
may develop flat spots in as little as 30 days.
If you drive your classic car once a month or less, put
transmission in neutral and roll the car a forward (or
a foot or two.
Do this once about every 2 weeks will keep also keep
calipers from developing problems.
Or to avoid this issue, raise the vehicle off
and support it on jack stands.
This will take the pressure off the tires and
- Safety First!
Consult your owner's manual to find the proper
locations for the
stands, this will prevent possible injury, since the car can
the stands if not placed properly.
Jackstands will eventually sink
into dirt floors, use plywood
squares under them.
Check the convertible top material, soft top,
Clean it thoroughly.
Get out those crumbs, spilled french fries, and just plain
Use a vacuum cleaner.
Don’t forget about mice and other animals like moths or ants
may have made a home in your car.
Look everything over carefully.
Check door panels, window regulator handles, dashboard
(all the gauges working), steering wheel, controls, choke,
throttle, floor mats, etc.
Be sure to check interior fabric or
leather and clean and protect
it with a silicone conditioner.
Make sure that it’s clean.
Batteries can discharge due to moisture and dust across the
between the terminals.
Clean the terminals and posts, replace and tighten them,
coat them lightly with Vaseline.
Don’t coat the posts or the terminals before you re-assemble
as that can cause a poor connection which will result in a
drop which causes poor starting and erratic charging.
Always use eye protection when working on a
If you remove it, clean off the terminals with water and
soda, then rinse with distilled water.
Unhook the battery by removing
the negative cable first and store it
There’s no way your battery will stay charged
over the winter
here in the Midwest.
If a car battery loses its charge it may freeze, at which
it becomes useless.
The battery should be stored indoors.
is to hook your car battery up to a trickle charger
or battery maintainer.
Ensure the model you purchase has an auto shut-off feature
to prevent overcharging.
Change the oil
Older oil can contain contaminates that are acidic and can
harm internal engine components if left sitting.
the engine for a few minutes
to circulate the clean oil.
Top up all other fluids, such as coolant and
Use the proper mixture of coolant.
As brake fluid attracts moisture, fill the brake reservoir
the correct type of fluid.
The smaller the surface exposed, the less likely the fluid
Be sure to test your anti-freeze
It’s a good idea to use some antifreeze, even in warm
Most recommend a 50/50 mix with water.
To be safe, you should check the coolant’s strength to
the water concentration level isn’t too high.
If it is, this can cause the car’s cylinder heads or engine
At this time, it will never be easier to check
and replace any hoses
Be sure to check your fan belts.
If your water pump has a grease fitting, grease it with
grease, not regular chassis lube.
Clean all the bugs and other stuff from your radiator.
Fill the tank with premium grade
that contains no ethanol.
Ethanol is notorious for damaging gaskets and rubber
The tank should be full to limit moisture buildup.
To ensure that your engine components don't get damaged or
gas deterioration, add a fuel stabilizer.
add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer and let it mix
thoroughly with the gas by running the car for approximately
10-15 minutes to move the mixture into the carburetor, fuel
The fuller the tank, the less room there will be for air,
moisture that can lead to fuel contamination and possibly
rust within the tank.
For Long Term Storage:
gas tank for long-term storage and make sure the
car is stored in a dry environment.
If gas has been in the tank for a year or longer, always
Also for long term storage, it is recommended that you
pour a small amount of engine oil or transmission fluid
the carburetor to fully lubricate the valve train.
This will go a long way to preventing sticking valves when
engine is started.
Condensation can ruin the interior of a car.
Place a few open boxes of Baking
Soda in your car an trunk to
absorb both moisture and odors.
Baking Soda is also safe be used with the other
Leave a couple windows open slightly ajar to let fresh air
but not open enough for a critter to get in.
Fresh air is also important to help prevent mold.
Put steel wool or aluminum foil
in the tailpipe tip, the air intake
at the air cleaner and any other external area an animal or
critter could use to gain entrance.
Put a plastic bag
over the air cleaner/air inlet and tailpipe.
You also can cover these with aluminum foil and tape securely.
Tie brightly colored surveyors tape to the steel wool and
sheets as a reminder to remove them before restarting
Use the fabric softener sheets around the exterior,
them on top of the tires and around the engine compartment.
Put fabric softener sheets on the floor boards and under the
seats, on the dashboard and under the rear window.
These sheets help repel the critters, and keep the interior
well outside the car, but never put them
in your car.
The last thing you want to find is a dead mouse on your
If you are storing your car
in your own house garage, remember
that pest poison traps, mouse traps especially the glue
be hazardous to your pets.
Make sure you keep your pets away from them!
Or you can place packets of
mothballs on the floor around and
under the car to discourage critters.
Place a note to yourself on the
steering wheel outlining which
steps above you carried out (steel wool, aluminum foil in
the tailpipe, in the intake, carpets removed, battery
Bringing your Car Out of
Once you uncover your car, inspect it for any signs of insect
or critter damage.
Check for proper inflation and unusual wear
patterns, as well
an cuts and tears.
Fill all four tires to the correct air pressure when
you take your
car out of storage.
Remove the baking soda boxes.
If you forget them, they may spill during driving.
Remove plastic bag, aluminum
foil, and steel wool from over air
cleaner/air inlet and tailpipe.
The first thing to do is look underneath the
This will tell you if you have any leaking problems, such as
a hose, a seal, the radiator or a blown gasket.
If the car has been sitting in the garage for years, you
should drain all fluids and flush all systems before
However, if the car has just been sitting in your garage
winter months, this isn’t normally necessary.
Instead, do an oil and filter change.
Flush the fuel lines, drain and flush the radiator and check
of all other fluids.
Checking the Battery:
A car that is being stored should have its
and shelved to protect it.
your battery terminals are clean and shiny, clean
with a wire brush, charge it up, and reinstall it.
the battery for a good 24 hours.
When returning the battery to the car, attach the positive
you Start your Car:
If your car hasn’t been started for over the
Winter months, you
should take off the spark plugs and lubricate the cylinders.
If you haven’t removed your spark plugs before, label the
wires as you remove them, because they fire in specific
Be careful when you pull the wires, making sure that you
as close to the engine as possible.
Once your spark plugs are removed, turn your ignition key a
times, this will enable the lubricant to lubricate the walls
Keep running the engine until your oil pressure shows as
Then replace the spark plugs correctly.
Take off the engine’s air filter cover, and then spray
fluid through the carburetor mouth.
This will give you a good chance to start your engine, so
it’s time to give it a go.
Before you drive out of the Garage:
When your car starts, just let the engine idle
and slowly warm up.
Don’t rev up the engine.
While it’s running, put the air filter cover back on, and
leaks and the level of transmission fluid.
Now shut the engine off, and go back under the hood to check
any hoses or belts that need tightening.
Replace if you see cracks or rot
Also, lubricate the
Before you drive off, make sure you have
checked the brakes
Rotors, drums and friction linings should all be inspected,
check wheel cylinders for corrosion.
While driving for the first
time after being in storage, watch your
voltage and oil and coolant temperatures and take care when
braking as rust may have built up on the drums and rotors
will add to your braking distance.
Don't forget to change the oil and filter
before you drive off, or take
your car to your favorite shop and get an oil change as soon
take it out of storage, even if you did it before you put
With all these things
taken care of, you
should now be ready to enjoy your
These tips are merely a recommendation
to help save you time and
Check with your mechanic for
professional advice or service.